Last week marked the release of the ridiculously highly anticipated GTA V (Grand Theft Auto 5 for those not in the know). I didn’t pre-order the game, as is the normal for games like this usually, so have only just got round to picking up a copy today. The first thing I did when I got back was insert the game into our PS3 so that it could install the 8gb worth of installation files, that are required before you even get to play the game, which took about half an hour or so.
Anyway, this blog post isn’t particularly about GTA itself but is more focused on its genre. The genre that I’m referring too is Open World, sometimes known as Sandbox. Now I’d definitely consider myself to be a gamer, through and though, but I’m not someone who pertains to know everything about everything that is gaming. However, having previously worked in the games industry I do know my fair share. Having played a wide range of games over the years all the way from Pacman to Tetris and from Mario to World Of Warcraft, I’ve learned a thing or two about what I like to play.
I can pretty much find anything to like in any game but one of my favourite genres is the above mentioned Open World (Sandbox) type of game. There is just something about the freedom of being able to go anywhere and do anything that appeals massively to the traveler hidden deep within me. When I talk about Open World, i’m talking about those games that don’t constrain the gamer with a clear path that defines the course of the game, but instead lets you follow your own course. I wont go into depth but what I do like about these games is exactly that…the lack of constraint. Often, these games have a free roaming open world which the gamer can explore in any way that they choose. Usually set within a city or a particular area, the user is open to choose what they do, whether its just driving or walking around, shooting unsuspecting passers-by or following the in game ‘missions’, the world is your oyster.
Grand Theft Auto allows you do all of the above and so much more. The latest offering from the on-going series claims to be the best so far, something that all of its predecessors have also claimed in the past. However, this time it seems that this one certainly will take some beating. Other than the GTA series there are numerous other games that follow the same ethos, such as ‘Red Dead Redemption’ (also made by GTA’s studio ‘Rockstar’), ‘L.A Noire’ (another from Rockstar, can you see the pattern) amongst others.
‘Red Dead Redemption’ offers the player chance to be a part of ‘[a] story [that] takes place in the year 1911, during the decline of the American Frontier’ (Wikipedia), allowing all sorts from horse riding, tackling bandits and taking part in gunfights.
Whilst ‘L.A Noire’ which is ‘set in Los Angeles in 1947’ where the player ‘controls a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer, solv[ing] a range of cases across five departments’ (Wikipedia). As you can tell there are a wide range of areas, styles and eras that are encompassed by the genre, but one thing remains which is the freedom allowed to the gamer.
I also enjoy the MMORPG (Mass Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) genre too which can be slightly blurred with Open World due to the complete lack of a clear direction, which i’ll try and write a post about at some point in the future.
If you’ve played any of the games mentioned or even if its a genre that you’re looking to explore more (pun intended) then leave a comment below and tell me about your experience with the genre.